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Glossary - O


obex: Opening in the floor of the fourth cerebral ventricle through which spinal fluid enters the center of the spinal canal.


oblique X-ray: X-rays taken from an angle that allows for a direct view through the nerve canal or foramina. 


obturator: An opening in the low pelvis.


occipital condyle: The joint at the base of the skull that articulates with the upper part of the first cervical vertebra.


occipital muscles: Muscles behind the back of the neck that reach the back of the skull.


occiput: The back of the skull.


operating microscope: A type of microscope that is used for surgery, typically spinal surgery, that provides a 3-dimensional magnified view with superior lighting.


opiates: Narcotic medications.


OPLL (ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament): An abnormal bone formation within the spinal canal, along the dura that is anterior to the spinal cord and posterior to the vertebrae. 


osteoblast: A type of cell that generates new bone.


osteoclast: A type of cell that can digest or destroy bone.


osteoconductive: material that helps provide a medium for bone formation.


osteocyte: A bone cell.


osteogenesis: The formation of new bone.


osteogenic proteins: Proteins that promote the formation of new bone.


osteoinductive: Proteins and materials that encourage the body to produce osteogenic proteins. 


osteomyelitis: An infection of bone.


osteophyte: A bone spur.


osteoporosis: Softening of bone due to loss of calcium, typically with age.